Lonely Jake frumps in the Promenade people-watching spot where he and Nog used to hang out, and Odo and Quark try to offer him comfort in their own faux-antisocial way.
At home, Jake is shocked to find a visitor — Jennifer Sisko from the mirror universe. Though he knows this is not actually his mother, he still gushes over the chance to spend time with her. And because this is an episode about how the morally ambiguous Mirror Jennifer uses Jake as a pawn, Sisko naturally leaves them alone together.
In the mirror universe, Terran-led rebels have retaken the station and need Sisko to prep their version of the Defiant. Sisko does not refuse to help them until after they send Jake back home safely, because as I’ve stated, this is an episode about how the morally ambiguous Mirror Jennifer manipulates the naive Jake in order to strong-arm Sisko.
Mirror Bashir punches our Sisko and Mirror Jadzia threatens him with a knife, both responding to Sisko’s role-playing antics during their last encounter (s3e19 “Through the Looking Glass“). Sisko intervenes to stop Mirror Bashir from gleefully torturing a not-yet-broken Mirror Kira, who still manages to proposition Sisko in between agonizer jolts.
I found myself humming “How Ba-a-a-ad Can I Be” from The Lorax movie, but I had a hard time caring about the chained and toadying Mirror Garak as he bows before, and later gets stabbed by, Mirror Worf, the unhinged commander of a huge Cardassian warship on a mission to wipe out the rebellion.
Without the real Kira around to respond, I find Mirror Kira tiresome. And as for the others, only Smiley O’Brien seems like a complex character facing difficult choices. The others aren’t even villains you love to hate. They’re just pretty awful people who happen to look like characters we already know very well.
Jake cheerfully tries to make friends with the hostile and suspicious Mirror Nog, using the same aw-shucks strategies that worked for him before. But when when we see the young casino proprietor later make an alliance with the evil Kira, it’s clear nice guy Jake is out of his league.
The pew-pew is enjoyable as Sisko pulls a Han Solo on Worf’s huge ship, skimming the Defiant along the surface, too close to be targeted.
I don’t mind being asked to believe in warp drives and transporters and universal translators, and even the plot contrivance particle fields are forgivable if they help tell a worthwhile story, but that means the script has to focus on characters who behave truthfully in imaginary circumstances.
This episode earns a facepalm for a script that requires Sisko to lecture the unrepentant Mirror Jennifer abut manipulating Jake, but still trust her to send Jake home, and then another facepalm for expecting the audience to care this much about Jennifer’s moral development.